Nega Sake, a Korean-Japanese restaurant, brings a fusion of flavours to the between Prince Arthur and Coloniale Avenue. With its grand opening this past weekend, the restaurant aims to cater to the large student population of the Lower Plateau, and add to the multicultural atmosphere of the neighbourhood.
Nega Sake’s venue offers a cozy and minimalistic atmosphere for its customers. The ground floor dining space has panelled cedar tables and chairs, as well as a booth for large parties. The decor consists of large clear windows, as well as exposed brick walls, which add to its stylish ambiance. A large, overarching cherry blossom tree also lends a serene and vibrant colour to the tranquil ambiance, while the woodsy scent flooding through the restaurant adds to the naturally-inspired decor.
Nega Sake’s menu includes traditional Korean dishes, including ramen, bibimbap, and dolsot bibimbap. Japanese dishes include ragout, a hearty protein, vegetable, and rice stew. All main dishes have either meat options of beef, chicken, and pork, or a vegetarian option of tofu. The menu makes it easy for customers to decide on a meal, with three basic dishes and four protein choices. All mains ring up at $13 before taxes. There is also a variety of Korean and Japanese appetizers, including bulgogi, tempura, edamame, and tteokbokki. The dessert menu is also simple, with delicious options including hotteok, a Korean pancake, and accompanying ice cream flavours.
Among the various dishes offered, the Tofu Dolsot Bibimbap stood out in its comforting and satisfying taste. Dolsot means “stone pot” in Korean, and the meal was served in a sizzling stone pot resting on its wooden lid. Dolsot bibimbap is a variation of traditional bibimbap, which is a signature Korean dish. Cubed tofu, a fried egg, kimchi, bean sprouts, lettuce, shredded carrots, and cabbage were arranged on top of a bed of white steamed rice. Soy sauce was poured over, adding a salty finish to otherwise simple but fresh flavours. The large portion of the rice made the meal very filling, and the rice crisped on the bottom of the pot, which added texture. The meal was opened by a small appetizer of soup. Service throughout the meal was friendly and prompt, and a bottle of water was provided to the table.
Sangho Byeon, chef and co-manager of Nega Sake, said he wanted to expand his restaurant business to Prince Arthur. He owns another Korean-Japanese restaurant, Petit-Tokebi, on Saint-Catherine.
This second location of Nega Sake has slight variations to the original venture to address the different clientele.
“The menu is a little bit different,” Byeon said. “[The Plateau] has a lot of students, so it’s a simpler menu than our other location.”
Nega Sake has exciting seasonal plans for the summer months, when Prince Arthur’s pedestrian walkway awakens with tourists and everyday pedestrian commuters.
“We are going to have a terrace and start serving traditional ice soup over the summer,” Byeon added.
Overall, Nega Sake has a serene atmosphere and a simple menu with comforting meals. Its cozy ambiance is excellent for the winter months, but a terrace will help this eatery transition easily to summer. The restaurant is a welcomed addition to Prince Arthur and Coloniale Avenue, and is promising in its simplistic and delicious menu.